Linda Newbery is well known as a writer of YA and adult fiction, but now she turns to a subject close to her heart for her first foray into non-fiction. She says that anyone who follows her on social media will know that she is fervently against hunting and cruel animal sports, is a long-term supporter of several welfare and environmental charities, and, having been a vegetarian most of her life, is now vegan. So this is a guide for any reader who is concerned about how we treat animals and wildlife, and gives practical hints on how we can change the way we live.
We should look carefully at what we eat, wear, and use, to make sure that it has no adverse effect on animals, and get to know the brands we can trust. She points out that there are no penalties for getting it wrong by mistake, but any little effort will help to make difference. We can, though, decide to buy fewer clothes, however ethically sourced, wear each item as many times as we can, and dispose of them thoughtfully when they’re worn out. We all know 3 ‘R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, but there are others: Refuse, Repurpose, Repair, Rethink. On and around ‘Black Friday’, when we are bombarded with special offers and encouragement to buy, we can Refuse: ethical groups in some countries call this ‘Buy Nothing Day’. We can’t ever throw things away- there is no ‘Away’: it all goes somewhere, and landfill is not a good solution.
Ecosystems are covered, and the importance of maintaining a balance of species may mean that predators are sometimes needed. Here is a fascinating fact: earthworms, who help break down the soil, may be more important than giant pandas! The presentation is good: there are double-page spreads where important facts are written in a large font, or in boxes, or speech bubbles, and other sections where an issue is described in more depth- a young person can either dip in or read solidly.
This is an important book, which will be very interesting and useful to the increasing number of young people who seriously care for the future of wildlife and our planet.